Ever been so confident you could do something and then found that your confidence was misplaced and you failed? It’s easy to be overconfident and exceed limits, especially if you think nothing can go wrong with your plan. History is full of people, who for various reasons, foolishly placed their entire confidence in something that ended up negatively affecting the lives of many people.
Let’s look at an illustration. With the 100th anniversary of the Titanic sinking occurring recently, I read a book called “The Band that Played On”, about the musicians aboard the Titanic who gave their lives playing music to keep people calm while the ship sank. This reminded me of the overconfidence of those who had created and marketed the Titanic as a ship that could not sink and whose misplaced confidence resulted in the loss of hundreds and hundreds of lives. Numerous historians who have examined the tragedy have pointed out that the designers did not plan for a disaster at sea.
Major tragedies such as these, as well as minor ones that anyone encounters in life, can be averted by knowing what your limits are and not exceeding them. How is this accomplished?
- Be honest in your decisions and dealings. This goes a long way toward eliminating problems. It may seem obvious, but again just look at the news on any given day and you’ll see examples of those who weren’t and whose greed and overconfidence brought trouble to many lives.
- Make sure your pride doesn’t get the best of you. It’s fine and healthy to take a reasonable pride in something you have implemented or created, but believing that a thing is so perfect that nothing could possibly go wrong is arrogant and foolish.
- Whether you’ve created what you think is a foolproof financial plan for someone or you have implemented a high dollar business deal where much is at stake or whatever it may be, don’t be so sure of yourself that you forget the human element that may be affected if something should go wrong. Thus, consider the lives you may be affecting. Nothing is worth the possibility that you might bring trouble, pain or loss into someone else’s life as a result of your poor choices, overconfidence or lack of foresight.
- Develop a fallback strategy in case something should go wrong. Always have a contingency plan in place for problems that might occur. In fact, expect and plan for the unexpected. Think about everything that could go wrong and plan accordingly. If the architects and owners of the Titanic had planned for a disaster at sea, there would have been many more lifeboats and safety features built into the ship to make it more seaworthy. It is entirely possible that all of the occupants of the ship could have been saved and we would have heard the story of the brave musicians from their own mouths.
- Have controls in place in case something happens, to minimize damage and loss. This relates to the point above, with this difference: that even if you wisely consider all the things that could go wrong and plan for them, there is always the chance that something no one thought about could spring up to cause a glitch. What will you do if this happens? Knowing beforehand will save you and others a lot of trouble.
If things should still go wrong, at least you’ll know that you’ve done your best and won’t have regrets about it. Approach the situation with courage and use whatever means you can to repair whatever damage has occurred. In other words, make music while the ship sinks! I use this analogy loosely, modeling it after the men on the Titanic who gave their lives to bring courage to a terrible situation. Hopefully nothing so dramatic will ever happen in your life, but my point is that even bad situations can be approached and overcome with courage and bravery.
Much of this is common sense, as you’ve probably discovered by now. But sometimes, common sense is the one thing that gets overlooked in life. If you follow these simple steps, you can prevent a lot of trouble in your own and others’ lives. You will find that your life will be more successful and less stressful if you plan for the unexpected!
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